I think it is safe to say that when it comes to being prepared, items that serve multiple purposes are like hitting pay dirt. Multi-use items save space and weight. This especially comes in handy when you have to carry the items in your bag or on your person. With that in mind, I put together my list of five multi-use items that I feel everyone should have.
Poncho. Military grade, camouflaged, water resistant. This is one of the most versatile items you can have in your kit. A poncho can be worn, as it helps keep you dry and traps in body heat. You can make a lean to or tent with a poncho. You can spread it out to collect rainwater or roll up in it for a blanket. If you have to cross water, you can wrap your items in your poncho to keep them relatively dry. There are many more uses, but these are the ones that immediately come in mind. What else?
Paracord. Another great item with literally thousands of uses. Only your imagination can keep you from doing stuff with paracord. You can use it for shoe laces, or to hold up your pacts. You can use it in making your shelter or hanging up clothes to dry. Pull the inner cords out and tie together for fishing line or trip wires. Lift your food or kit off the ground with it. Mend torn items or attach items to your bag. Make a sling or lanyard. There are so many great uses for paracord that I could write a whole article about it but it would be too long.
Multitool. A good multitool should always be by your side. There is a reason the Army issues them for deployments. With all of the attachments on them they can be a lifesaver. Some of the more common attachments are a cross tip screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, can opener, pliers/cutters, wire strippers, knife, saw, bottle opener and a saw. There are many others and different brands have different configurations. A word of advice though, get a quality tool, not something that will break the first time you use it. Gerber and Leatherman make some of the best, but many solid companies are branching into this area.
Handkerchief. For the price of handkerchiefs, you can’t be their versatility. They are cheap enough that you can have many but you can get by just fine with only one or two. Handkerchiefs serve the obvious role of a tissue for a runny nose, but can be used for much more. You can make a bandage or a tourniquet out of them. You can breathe through it when there is smoke, dust or other air quality issues. You can improvise a sling out of one. Tie up your stuff and make a hobo stick. Use it to filter water or signal for help. So many uses that that I can’t even think of them all. What am I missing?
Entrenching tool. This is the final item on the list. Again, military issue is my recommendation, but there are many civilian models available. An entrenching tool is primarily used for digging. This could include a foxhole, cat hole, trench around your shelter or for filling sandbags. But it can also be used to chop small trees or saplings or remove stick and branches. You can fold it at a 90 degree angle and it makes a decent seat. In a pinch an entrenching tool also makes a decent weapon, one that I wouldn’t want being swung at me. This is a great item to attach to your bag or have in the trunk.
And that is my short list of multi use items that I feel everyone should have. What do you think? Are there items here you disagree with? How many of these do you have? And other suggestions? Let us know in the comments. And, until next time, thank you and keep on preppin!